49.3, budget laws… The government’s options for passing its pension reform

Beyond the what, the how. For Emmanuel Macron, the question of pensions remains a priority. The president repeats, in public and behind closed doors, that he does not want to pay the announced deficit of the system with borrowings, which have become particularly burdensome since the rise in interest rates. If the State has already incurred many expenses, it still has to finance the ecological transition and the school and health reforms.

It is therefore necessary to reform pensions at all costs, even if it means going through in force, he suggested. A declaration which did not fail to agitate the political sphere. The unions are screaming, and his loyal MoDem lieutenant François Bayrou has himself tried to dissuade him. What are we talking about ? What are the options available to the executive, to increase the postponement of the retirement age to 64 or 65, when many are against it, and the majority of the government is all relative?

This Tuesday on the airwaves of RTL, Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt first assured to play fair play, while remaining ambiguous: “Everything we can do to avoid a forced passage is obvious. “Our first objective: to find voices of passage and consensus”, he said. – he indicated. And at the same time, “if we are blocked, at an impasse and there is no support, we have tools in the Constitution”, he recalled. Here again is the specter of 49.3 Submitting a text without a vote against a hypothetical motion of censure?

The option is enticing, but limited. Recourse to 49.3 can only be made once per session, when it is the government that is at the origin of the new text. But with a relative majority, the “tool” can be vital. The executive could then be tempted to circumvent this obstacle, thanks to certain subtleties. For budgetary texts, such as the social security finance bill (PLFSS), it is open bar: Élisabeth Borne could uncap as many 49.3 as she wants, provided that the motions of censure fail.

This is why, for a few days, there has been a rumor that the government wants to introduce by amendment, within the PLFSS, the postponement of the retirement age. Twisted, but effective. “It is one of the options” but “we have not yet made the decision”, indicated the Minister Delegate for Relations with Parliament Franck Riester on LCP. For him, it is not a swear word. Despite the unanimous opposition of the unions, whom he met on Monday, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt confirmed on RTL that the path of a reform by an amendment to the Social Security budget “is part of the scenarios” envisaged by the executive. And to specify, too, that the question was not settled.

Thus, the executive tries to demine. “We must not make people believe that the PLFSS would be a forced passage. Having sat for a long time on the finance committee, we spend a lot of time on the social security financing bill”, reacted on Monday on RMC la Minister Delegate for SMEs Olivia Grégoire. A way to normalize this idea, while the general rapporteur of the budget, Jean-René Cazeneuve also pushes for the reform to be done quickly.

But, within Renaissance (ex-LREM), some would prefer to attempt the ascent by the normal route, either via a separate bill. François Bayrou is not the only one. “It would shock me if this subject was simply the matter of a discussion in the Assembly (…), it does indeed need consultation”, abounded on France 2 the deputy Renaissance Karl Olive. A certain caution about timings, also mentioned in the macronist galaxy.

The president of the Horizons group in the National Assembly, another member of the majority, Laurent Marchangieli, said he was worried that part of French society would take the idea of ​​an amendment as an “aggression”. Emmanuel Macron could then choose to present his own. But maybe the means really don’t matter. Unions and part of the opposition have come out against funding the savings on workers in any case.


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